Contemplate & Konangal
Art Documentary Screening
Painting and Revolution
Episode 1 of 4: Gang of Four
Duration: 1 hour
2nd January 2013; 5.45 pm
Contemplate Art Gallery
Rajshree Ford Bldg,
Opp. PSG Krishnammal College, Avanashi Rd.
Art writer Waldemar Januszczak explores the revolutionary achievements of the Impressionists. In the first episode, Waldemar delves into the back stories of four of the most influential Impressionists - Pissarro, Monet, Renoir and Bazille - who together laid the foundations of the artistic movement. He finds out what social and cultural influences drove them to their style of painting, how they were united and how ultimately they challenged and changed art forever.
Januszczak is fantastic at fleshing out little-known biographical and contextual details which can open our eyes to new ways of thinking about an artist. Pissarro was a Jew, and this information mattered, because he was the first Jew to defy rabbinical law and become an artist, whilst Renoir was apprenticed at the age of 14 as a painter of porcelain plates, and this was where he had honed his flickery, feathery technique.
Januszczak's one-offs on Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec were utterly compelling. One could learn much from them. And because he makes the biographies so rich, so vivid, a sketchier group show seems, well, sketchier, lacking in that full-bodied richness of colour.
Waldemar journeys from the shores of the West Indies, to the progressive city of Paris to the suburbs of South London, where these four artists drew inspiration from the cities and towns in which they lived. Whether it be the infamous spot on the river Seine - La Grenouillere - where Monet and Renoir beautifully captured animated people, iridescent light and undulating water or the minimalist, non-sensationalised illustrations of Pissarro's coarse countryside paintings, Waldemar discovers how the Impressionists broke conventions by depicting every day encounters within the unpredictable and ever changing sights around them.